It is good, Lord, to bless Your name. I remember Your mercies in the morning and Your loving-kindness at night.
1 CORINTHIANS 12:21-31
Consider: The Holy Spirit gives gifts to individuals so that their appropriate use will build up the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the builder of healthy community so that the difference Jesus Christ makes can be clearly seen.
Part of the problem for the Corinthians was that they had a value system that placed value judgments on gifts and on the people who exercised them. Paul will have none of this.
Continuing with the analogy of the physical body, Paul demonstrates that every member of the Christian family is crucial and interdependent. Just as every part is necessary for the proper functioning of the body, so there is the need for every Christian to recognize and value every other Christian. The church family can only be the community God desires if every member and every gift are valued. There is no room for spiritual pride or elitism in the redeemed community, precisely because the gifts are God's, given to individuals to build up his church. Every-member ministry is not just an ideal; it is how God works.
Not only should the Corinthians value every member of the community; they also need to care for one another. We have all had the experience of pain in one part of our physical body affecting the whole, and that is just how Paul envisages the community functioning--suffering in one part of the community affects the whole, and rejoicing in one part does the same (26). No one can opt out of the community (27) and no one can claim to have all the gifts or that any one gift is given to all in the community (28-31a). Diversity of gifts is vital for a healthy community, but do we value such diversity in our communities? Have we fallen into the Corinthian trap of valuing particular gifts and people more highly than others? We need to recognize our diversity of gifts and interdependence so that we are the properly functioning body of Christ, modeling the redeemed community that Paul desired for the Corinthians and that God desires for us.
How do these verses make you feel about your place in the Body of Christ? How do they affect your view of fellow Christians?
Father, I thank You for the spiritual gifts I have received. Use my gifts in whatever way You choose, so that God may receive all the glory.
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